Republicans in Colorado are mourning the “tragic and sudden” loss of an elected leader just a week before he would have been re-elected to a fourth term in office.
Colorado state House Minority Leader Hugh McKean is reported to have died unexpectedly in his home Sunday morning from a suspected heart attack at the age of 55, the Conservative Brief reported.
State Rep. McKean’s untimely death was confirmed in a news release from the Larimer County Coroner which stated that the office had been dispatched “to Loveland, CO to investigate the death of a 55-year-old male. The decedent was identified as Colorado State Representative Hugh McKean of Loveland, CO.”
“Rep. McKean was transported to the Larimer County Coroner’s Office where a forensic autopsy was performed,” and Forensic Pathologist Dr. Joe White determined that McKean had died in a “natural” manner caused by an “Acute Myocardial Infarction,” or heart attack.
Condolences from fellow Republicans
“It is with great sadness we announce the sudden passing of House Minority Leader Hugh McKean,” the Colorado House Republicans said in a statement posted to social media. “Hugh was fiercely passionate about serving the great state of Colorado and will be missed dearly. Funeral services are being planned and details will be made public once finalized.”
It is with great sadness we announce the sudden passing of House Minority Leader Hugh McKean. Hugh was fiercely passionate about serving the great state of Colorado and will be missed dearly. Funeral services are being planned and details will be made public once finalized. pic.twitter.com/Yw7ARMTnJv
— Colorado House Republicans (@COHouseGOP) October 30, 2022
Also addressing McKean’s sudden death was Kristi Burton Brown, chairwoman of the Colorado GOP, who issued a statement and wrote on Twitter, “I’m deeply saddened by the loss of my friend, Leader Hugh McKean. He was kind and positive and took the time to invest in so many lives, including my children.”
— Kristi Burton Brown (@ColoradoKbb) October 30, 2022
Even top Democrats are “devastated” and “heartbroken”
CBS News reported that, according to McKean’s deputy chief of staff, Roger Hudson, McKean had complained recently of pain in his torso, but that had been dismissed as likely due to the stress of McKean, a former general contractor, building his own home.
The outlet noted that since McKean was running for re-election unopposed, by Colorado law he will be considered to have won and be categorized as a member-elect of the state legislature. Within 30 days, however, a special vacancy committee established by the Larimer County GOP will meet to begin the process of choosing a replacement to fill McKean’s vacant seat.
CBS News further noted that in addition to the outpouring of grief from McKean’s fellow Republicans in the state, a number of Democrats also offered their condolences in the wake of his sudden death, including Gov. Jared Polis (D), who stated that he was “devastated” by the news and extended his “thoughts and prayers to all of Hugh’s loved ones and take comfort knowing his legacy will be felt in Colorado for years to come.”
Similarly, the outlet reported, House Speaker Alec Garnett (D) said he was “shocked and heartbroken” by McKean’s death. “Hugh was the very definition of a statesman — a genuinely nice guy who always wanted the best for our state and his constituents. His integrity and the deep respect with which he treated every member of the House were a model for every lawmaker he worked with.”